Structure and Organisation of the Early Medieval Economy and Society in the East Frisian Coastal Region – the Settlement Micro-region of Dunum, District of Wittmund, as a Model Region

According to historic sources, the inhabitants of the North Sea coast were closely integrated into the transregional trade network of the early Middle Ages. The so-called “Frisian cloths” were likely one of the most important goods. The finds and features known to date do, nonetheless, suggest that the economy was predominantly based on agriculture and only a small proportion of the population was actively involved in trade. Our knowledge about the early medieval sociological and economic structures in the southern North Sea area remains rather scant. The settlement micro-region of Dunum is ideally suited to function as a model region for a study of society along the East Frisian coastal area because of the good level of research  as well as its topographic location on the former Harle Bight. The aim of the DFG (German Research Fundation)-funded project is the investigation of the internal organisation of this micro-region by studying its palaeotopography, analysing settlement structures and the already completely excavated cemetery as well as carrying out additional surveys. The study of aspects concerning landscape- and settlement archaeology will be conducted by Dr. Annette Siegmüller, while Christina Peek is in charge of cemetery analysis and the planned investigation of archaeological textiles.

Further information is available here.



Fischer, A., Peek, C. & Siegmüller, A., (2012) Feinstratigraphische Untersuchungen an Eisenobjekten des Gräberfeldes von Dunum, Ldkr. Wittmund, Ostfriesland. Zur Funktion und Deutung organischer Funde und Befunde. Siedlungs- und Küstenforschung im südlichen Nordseegebiet 35, 317-351. (Link zu pdf)

Peek, C., Siegmüller, A. & Jöns, H., (2015) Die frühmittelalterliche Siedlungskammer mit Gräberfeld in Dunum, Kr. Wittmund (Ostfriesland). In: Studien zur Landschafts- und Siedlungsgeschichte im südlichen Nordseegebiet 38, 199-216.

Schmid, P., (1970) Die Keramik aus dem frühmittelalterlichen Gräberfeld von Dunum, Krei Wittmund. Probleme der Küstenforschung im südlichen Nordseegebiet 9, 59-76.

Schmid, P., (1972) Zur Datierung und Gliederung der Grabanlagen von Dunum, Kreis Wittmund. Neue Ausgrabungen und Forschungen on Niedersachsen 7, 211-240.

Siegmüller, A. & Peek, C., (2015) Das Bootsgrab aus dem frühmittelalterlichen Gräberfeld von Dunum, Ldkr. Wittmund, Nachrichten des Marschenrates zur Förderung der Forschung im Küstengebiet der Nordsee 52, 46 – 48.